Blue dogs bark not so bad on public option

Will moderate Dems stay on leash?

This week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus did a head count of its members to see whether House liberals still strongly opposed any health reform bill that would not include a public option. Word from the Hill Thursday indicated that opposition is still plenty strong. Not so strong? Blue Dog opposition to a public option, apparently.

Huffington Post reports that when the Blue Dog Caucus did its own head count this week to determine whether opposition to the public option was Job One, it found that it wasn’t even Job Two … or Three … or Four. Apparently, the Blue Dogs’ bark – and bite – aren’t as bad as expected when considering a public option.

Four priorities kept emerging, focusing mostly on dollars-and-cents issues, but the public option was not among them says Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD). (TIME magazine highlighted Sandlin in a 2008 piece called The Hotshots: Democrats to Watch.)

That means the door could still be open to negotiations on the public option, though Sandlin says Blue Dogs would only consider including it if it was “structured to ensure a level playing field, negotiated rates and [be] subject to a trigger.”

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